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On Set With...Mimi Choi

by Alice Lennon
On Set With...Mimi Choi

Mimi is a Vancouver-based professional makeup artist renowned for her unique artistic style.  A graduate of Blanche Macdonald Centre, her illusion based work has earned her worldwide recognition and many of her makeups have gone viral. From transforming her hand into realistic sushi to hyper realistic optical illusions with multiple eyes Mimi's attention to detail is mind blowing! Mimi was kind enough to take the time out of her busy teaching schedule to answer a few questions for us...

When did you know you wanted to become a makeup artist / illusionist?

 I've always been a creative and artistic person.  However, it wasn't until I was a few years into my career as a preschool teacher that I decided to pursue makeup as a profession.  While I love children, I felt a part of me was suppressed as I had to act and dress a certain way.  With the support of my family, I decided to enroll at a local makeup school (Blanche MacDonald in Vancouver, Canada) about 4 years ago.  That Halloween I decided to attempt an illusion look that I had seen online.  It was a cracked face look using a black and white liner.  My image went viral on social media and it really motivated me to continue exploring this genre.  Since then my work has evolved into what it is today!

Mimi Choi The Makeup Armoury

 Which 5 items could you not live without in your makeup kit?

  •  Make Up For Ever Flash Case
  •  Kevyn Aucoin Skin Enhancer 
  • Michael's fine detail art brushes 
  • Mehron Paradise Face and Body Makeup 
  •  Kryolan matte natural variety eyeshadow palette 

Mimi Choi The Makeup Armoury

  Which iconic makeup / sfx look do you admire? And why?

I love Mike Marino's work on Heidi Klum in which he transformed her into Jessica Rabbit.  I was blown away by his attention to detail as it was a full face and body look.  I can only imagine the amount of planning and meticulous work it took to achieve such perfection!  Luckily for me, I had the chance to meet and tell him how much I admired his work when I bumped into him at IMATS LA earlier this year!  

Mimi Choi The Makeup Armoury

What is your life mantra?

I believe that it is important to compete with nobody but yourself.  As long as you are honest, kind, and hard working, the universe will grant a path that is unique and good for you!

What do you feel is your greatest achievement to date?

Ever since my first IMATS, I've wanted to present on the main stage.  I admired those artists so much and knew that they were leaders in the industry to be given such a platform.  After attending and working at several IMATS, my goal was realized at IMATS Vancouver in 2017!  It was such a great experience and honour to be able to showcase my work to industry professionals!

Mimi Choi The Makeup Armoury

What inspires you?

I'm inspired by everything and anything.  It could be textures, shapes, or patterns.  These things evoke emotions in me and I try to convey them through my work.  I am also largely inspired by digital art and the surreal paintings of artists such as Dali.  As I don't use Photoshop myself, it is a challenge to achieve these illusions on my face.  Also, I suffer from sleep paralysis in which my mind is conscious but my body is asleep.  During these experiences, I often have frightening hallucinations.  However, I choose to use these episodes to fuel my creativity and they have inspired some of my looks including the sliced face and melted face.

Mimi Choi The Makeup Armoury

If you could travel back in time, where would you go?

I've recently watched a few movies and documentaries about Vincent Van Gogh and learned a bit about him.  He went through life selling only one of his pieces and not knowing what an impact he would have on future generations.  As an artist myself, I feel that this is tragic and I would love to go back in time to tell him how iconic and sought after his work is now.  He deserves to know how inspirational he has become!

What were you doing this time yesterday?

This time yesterday, I was working on a look at home (maze face look).  I had been out of town for a week and was really itching to do a look for myself as it had been a while.


If you would like to see more of Mimi's work you can find her website HERE and her Instagram HERE!